A Let Love In side story
By Terri Botta
Disclaimer: I don't own the Southern Vampires. Sole copyright belongs to Charlaine Harris. I'm poor so don't sue.
Rating: M for later chapters.
Timeframe: Post-From Dead to Worse
Summary: The Monday night photoshoot for Fangtasia's nude male calendar
"What does someone wear to a nude photoshoot?" she asked thoughtfully.
"Preferably something easy to remove?" Eric suggested.
She snorted, trying not to look at him because she knew what she'd see: her Viking lover, all 6'4"of him, sprawled naked on his massive bed. He'd be propped up on one elbow, his leg lifted to tilt his hip just so to display his "assets," which were impressive even when they were off duty, so to speak. His long hair would be a cascade of gold spilling across the fine quality Egyptian cotton sheets, and his sacred Thor's Hammer would be dangling just over his left nipple. Her mouth started watering just thinking about him lying there, and she clenched her fists so she wouldn't get back into bed with him.
It didn't help that they'd already enjoyed a round of lovemaking, and she was still naked under her warm, fluffy robe.
"I'm not the one who is going to be photographed," she replied,
He sighed dramatically. "I know. It's such a pity. You are a cruel mistress to refuse me such a small thing."
She snorted again as she dug through the selection of clothing she'd brought with her from her house. It was cold out, but she'd only packed skirts – per her lover's preferences – so she ended up choosing a long denim one and a light blue sweater.
"Mmmmm," she heard him purr appreciatively. It did irritating things to her libido.
'Why don't you come back over here and pay attention to me?' came Eric's sultry mind voice, followed by a wave of desire in the bond.
"Because I've already paid attention to you once already," she countered.
"Is there a limit to the number of times you'll have sex with me on a single night?"
"No. But we have other things to do. You have that photoshoot, and you have to go to Fangtasia to do paperwork, and I need to eat…" she reminded.
"I need to eat too."
"You already ate."
"That was just a snack. I'm ready for my full meal."
"You're always ready."
"Of course. And so are you. You want me to eat you. You love it when I bite you, when I lick you…"
His words went straight to the muscles of her lower abdomen and even lower.
"Come to me, my lover. I can feel your need. Let me… satisfy you," he crooned, his voice pure sex. She shivered down to her toes.
"If I do, will you be satisfied?"
She groaned, but he wasn't going to give in. He could feel her growing arousal through the bond, and he was already tasting victory. She felt like a poor little fly getting seduced by the spider. Come, my love, and let me suck you dry…
Eric sniggered, but continued beckoning.
'Apt imagery, my lover, but I have only two arms and both are empty.'
She didn't know why she was resisting. She knew how it was going to end: with her on the bed, legs open and her Viking between them, so really what was the point in putting up a fight? Maybe it was just her nature to be contrary, maybe she enjoyed the illusion of being able to say no to him, or maybe she just liked being seduced – Eric could be very convincing when he wanted to be,
"What will it take, my lover, to get you to drop the robe and come back to bed?"
She raised her eyes to look at his reflection in his dresser mirror. He'd moved the piece of furniture so that they could see each other from the bed – a sort of stopgap measure until the ceiling mirror was installed – and she could see him clearly in the polished surface. It was her downfall.
He was there, arranged just as she had imagined, only he had one hand between his legs, wrapped around that part of him as he stroked himself. He was fully erect, ready, and staring hungrily at her. She practically shook with need at the sight of him, and his lips pulled back into a sexy smile that was just the end of her.
As she stood frozen, staring at his reflection, she watched as he rose gracefully from the bed and came up behind her. His eyes fixed on hers in the mirror, his fangs fully down, she saw his hands come up to slide the robe from her shoulders as his lips kissed the base of her neck. And then she was naked in the mirror, her nipples hard as he brushed his fingers lightly across them. She might have moaned.
"Don't close your eyes, lover," he murmured as he gently urged her to bend over the dresser, slipping two fingers into her to test her readiness.
If she'd been any more ready, she would have spontaneously combusted, and she obeyed his request as she watched him mount her. His blue eyes were intense, and he was pressing the tip of his tongue to his bottom lip, as he moved within her slowly, so slowly. The second time was always slower than the first because they'd taken the edge off already and could just enjoy it, but sometimes his slow pace was maddening. She groaned and pushed back, trying to urge him on. His smile in the mirror was deadly.
"What's the rush, my lover?" he cooed, licking her throat as one hand reached up to fondle her breast.
Seeing him, watching his every move as they made love, was an amazing turn on, and she couldn't tear her eyes away from his face, his eyes, his expressions as he rode her. Her own mouth was slightly open, her skin flushed, the breast not cradled by his hand was pressed against the top of the dresser. There was a bead of sweat on her forehead. Eric saw it and licked it away quickly.
"I love the taste of you," he purred. "I think I will have you now."
With that, he pulled out of her, turned her around and pushed her down to the mattress. She turned her head to keep watching in the mirror as he knelt between her legs and began to use his mouth and fingers on her. Her body jerked, her raised knees trembling as his tongue worked its magic on her, and she saw her spine arch and her jaw drop as he bit her, sending her over the edge into blissful release.
Her entire body blushed pink in the aftermath, the sheen of sweat making her skin shiny in the mirror, and she watched herself spread her legs wider as he lifted up and pressed into her again. Erotic, so erotic, to see him as they made love, to witness in the silvered glass how his body moved, how hers responded in a counter rhythm. It was so enthralling to see that she felt like a woman under a spell – a spell of her own casting as she watched her and Eric starring in their own erotic scene.
"Yes, my little voyeur?" he purred, thrusting into her, tossing his long hair and his Hammer over his shoulder so it wouldn't fall in her face.
She groaned and watched as her hands slid down to cup his ass and pull him deeper. They both grunted as he clenched those perfect cheeks and shoved harder. Her thighs shook, her heels balanced on the backs of his knees, her chest heaved. He bent down to nip her nipple, the one further away from the mirror so he could turn his head a little and watch himself suckling from her breast. Watching him, watching her, watching each other, their bodies entwined, his hand reached for hers and she laced their fingers together, a metaphor for how their bodies were meshed into each other.
He drew more blood as he rode her steadily, knowing exactly how she wanted it, and she climaxed again, seeing her expressions change as she built, then crested and came down. He wasn't far behind her, his lips pulling back, his eyes burning, then the wave of pleasure that crossed his face as he came, his thighs taut, his ass tight, his toes curled as he shuddered. She loved to see those toes curling. It was cute.
'Cute? Nothing about me is cute, my lover,' he said, grinning as he kissed her and disengaged, gathering her up and curling with her, his eyes still on their reflections in the mirror.
'Your toes are cute,' she corrected, loving how they looked with their arms and legs wrapped around each other.
'They are not. They are warrior toes. They have walked millions of miles and seen many battles. They are hardened soldiers.'
She started laughing and couldn't stop, and even that was a joy to watch because his face lit up and he started tickling her with his fingers.
"Stop! Stop!" she begged, squirming, but he had her in a vice grip.
"Not until you take that back. My toes are not cute."
"Ooooh, did I wound the big Viking pride?" she teased, even as he really went for the kill and started tickling the backs of her knees. She was kicking and squealing in no time.
"Do not anger the mighty Norsemen, we are ruthless and pitiless," he warned, but he was laughing too.
"With cute toes!" she cried amid peals of laughter.
He growled and nibbled on her neck, which made her get quiet real quick, and soon she was lying there, panting, as he nuzzled her.
"Take it back," he murmured against her throat.
He rumbled against her skin. Any sane human would have been terrified, but she'd been crazy all her life, so the fact that a vampire was licking her neck didn't bother her.
"Take it back or I'll find a way to make you do that nude calendar."
She huffed. "If you're so dead set on having a bunch of naked pictures of me, why don't you just take them yourself?"
He stopped what he was doing and raised his head to look at her, his eyes wide. She knew in that moment that she was in big, big trouble.
"My lover, what an excellent idea! I don't know why I didn't think of that myself."
"Ulp. Eric…" she began, but he was already moving.
"C'mon, my lover. Let's shower and get on our way. I need to feed you, and I want to make a stop before we go to the photographer's studio."
Feeling an overwhelming sense of dread, she followed him to his opulent bathroom to wash off the evidence of their pleasures. She had once thought Bill had had the ultimate bathroom, but then she saw Eric's and she knew the Viking had put her former beau to shame. She was sure there were some villages in Africa that were smaller than Eric Northman's bathroom.
Eric had brought her to his south Shreveport house the previous evening, and she had spent her first night in his primary nest. She and Eric had spent Saturday night in Ruston, but she'd had to work the Sunday lunch shift, and afterwards she'd just gone home. Eric had arrived about twenty minutes after sunset, and by then she'd been packed for her two-day stay in Shreveport because both of them had Monday off.
Her Viking had been almost endearingly nervous about bringing her to his home, and he'd made her close her eyes before they turned onto his street. With the way he'd fussed, he'd reminded her of those little birds that weaved basket nests high up in the trees. The male bird would spend all day building it in order to attract a female, and when he was done he would present the nest to his prospective mate. If the female bird liked it, she'd mate with him. If she didn't, she'd loosen the basket from the tree and send it crashing to the ground.
"So… you are comparing me to a stupid little bird who is worried his mate will destroy the home he's made if she doesn't like it," he'd commented with some amusement.
"Well… maybe just a little."
"Are you going to burn my house down if you don't like it?"
She'd gasped. "Of course not!"
"Well then, that's a good thing to know."
"Can I open my eyes now?"
He hadn't let her open her eyes until they'd pulled into the driveway, and he'd parked his Corvette in just the right spot to show off the house to its best angle. Considering that it was well after dark when she was seeing it for the first time, she couldn't make out all that much, but she'd smiled and nodded appreciatively which seemed to please Eric to no end. He'd strutted and preened the rest of the evening – the happy male who didn't get his nest smashed to pieces.
She had to admit that the house was very nice. It was neither too large nor too small, but a decent sized 4 bedroom home on a wooded lot in a Gated Community. Of course Eric Northman would live in a neighborhood that had security. The guard at the gate had been a Were, one of the Shreveport Pack if she'd placed the face correctly. The exterior was stucco with brick accents at the corners, and the roof was a steeply pitched shingle roof. The house itself was a single floor with well maintained landscaping and a stone patio out back.
The interior was as Eric had described it: uncluttered and furnished with quality items made with natural materials. All of his furniture was cloth and leather and wood. Her bonded had a deep loathing for anything synthetic or polyester. His carpets, what few he had on the impeccably kept hardwood floors, were natural woven, and the colors were all shades of tans and browns and white. There was a splash of color here and there: a green glass bowl, a blanket throw with shades of red and ochre (that looked Native American), a black iron urn on the mantelpiece.
There were paintings and framed lithographs hung on the walls, mostly impressionist pieces that were swirls of complementary colors, but there were one or two landscapes, including one of what had to be the Scandinavian coastline during a storm. The violence of nature as the sea pummeled the shoreline was both beautiful and frightening, and she thought that Eric was the much same way – awe inspiring but deadly. He'd been amused to no end by the comparison.
The sauna he'd been so proud of was built into what must have once been a closet in the den, and he'd showed her the little room with its brazier for the stones and its wooden floor and seats. It had smelled like steam and lava rocks. She'd had no doubts that she'd be experiencing its apparent benefits very soon.
The bearskin rug he'd told her about was in front of the fireplace in the den, along with numerous weapons all hung on the walls: swords and rifles and axes even a couple of maces. She'd asked him if all of them were the real deal, but he'd just given her one of his wry smiles and asked her what she thought. She didn't ask again, but she did look more closely at one of the axes, and she thought she saw dried blood on the blade.
The bearskin itself was impressive. The Kodiak bear must have been massive because its hide stretched almost twelve feet from the gigantic head to the end of the rear paws with their curved, black claws. Eric told her how he had killed the bear with his hands about 200 years ago in Alaska. He'd crossed the Bering Straight from Russia and had encountered the big male on his fifth night there. He described the fight in great detail, telling her how he had come upon the bear and surprised it, and it had turned towards him instead of fleeing. He remembered lugging the body to an Inuit village and offering them the meat in return for tanning of the hide. Since the bear must have weighed over a thousand pounds, the meat had been enough to feed almost everyone in the little settlement.
He'd told her all of this as he'd laid a fire, and then he'd undressed until he was naked on the rug and every bit the image of the gorgeous warrior he was. She hadn't been able to resist him, and they'd made love on the bearskin like two characters from a bodice ripper romance novel. It was almost laughable in its predictability, but nothing was amusing about how he'd made her scream and grab the ears on the bear's head as he drove her wild with pleasure. Now she couldn't even look at the rug without remembering how they had used it, and the joy and ecstasy she had experienced while on it.
"How many others have you fucked on this rug?" she'd asked as they cuddled on the rug, their skin warmed by the fire. She knew better than to assume that she was the only one. The skin itself practically screamed, "screw here."
"I am not in the habit of bringing bangers into my private nest," he'd answered. "Very few humans or vampires have ever been in this house."
"That doesn't answer my question."
He'd rolled his eyes and gave in, "Three, but not for the reasons you think. There was a time when this rug was all the luxury I had in the world. I've worn it. I've slept in it. I've wrapped my body in it and buried myself in snow banks to shelter from the day. This skin was my clothing, my bedding, and my protection as I crossed Alaska and came down through Canada into the United States. Of course, it wasn't the United States then, but you get the idea. You, my lover, are the only one I have pleasured on this rug in the safety of this nest. The others… they were my meals."
She hadn't had much to say to that, so she'd just smiled and kissed him and let him pleasure her again. Afterwards, they'd gone to Fangtasia where she had stayed back in his office for a couple of hours while he did paperwork and Pam showed her some of the managerial procedures of the business, then had her fill out the employee forms for her new job as Entertainment Director.
They'd gone out into the bar and sat together in a booth for a while, until she got tired of the fangbangers trying to seduce her bonded, and he'd let her go back to his office to play on his computer until the bar closed. After having been gone so many nights, he hadn't felt comfortable taking himself off display so he'd stayed to "enthrall the vermin" as Pam loved to put it. When she'd gotten hungry, food was ordered in and delivered to Fangtasia's back door.
Eric had returned to his office at two am more than ready to take her back to his house and make love again – this time on the huge bed in the master bedroom. The room itself was plain with a solid wood dresser and chest of drawers. The bed had a carved wooden headboard and matching footboard, and it was draped with high quality linens and a very warm, brown ultrasuede comforter that was buttery soft. The windows were heavily covered with room darkening blinds and foam backed drapes to block out all light should he choose to spend the day in the bed, but he did have a completely light proof and fireproof secure lair in a fortified room under the eaves of the steep roof, and he'd told her that he would spend most of his days safely tucked away there if they weren't in Ruston or her home in Bon Temps.
He had spent the day in the bed, cuddled with her for most of the morning, until she'd gotten up to see to her human needs like using the bathroom (Jesus, Shepherd of Judea, the bathroom!) and finding food. They'd gone shopping to get things for her to eat while she was there, and she'd whipped herself up a ham and onion omelet and a cup of coffee in his adequate but sparsely equipped kitchen. The house was spotless so she'd spent the day reading and relaxing, until she'd gotten tired and decided to head back to her Viking because he'd be waking in another hour.
She'd undressed and put on a cotton nightie with a button-up front, and crawled into bed. When she woke, the nightie had already been unbuttoned and removed, and her Viking was licking her breasts happily. He loved waking up with her. Vamps woke hungry and horny, and there she was already in the bed, warm and soft and yummy; his own self-delivered éclair ready for the taking.
He'd enjoyed her very much.
Which led her to where she was now: twice fucked and showering with her bonded in his cavernous bathroom with its huge soaking tub, standing shower, and double vanity. She was in the shower with him – never a good idea if they were on a timetable – but he was being good and just washing her with only a hint of lewdness. She didn't know if she should be grateful or scared.
"Come, lover," Eric urged as he finger-combed his damp hair and pulled on a pair of black jeans and a T-shirt.
It was November, the week before Thanksgiving, and he hadn't even bothered with underwear. She shivered just looking at him as she dressed in a pair of winter weight thigh-highs, plain cotton panties (which she hoped would survive the night), her bra, and the skirt and sweater ensemble she'd previously chosen. They were ready to leave the house by seven-thirty.
The first stop was food. Since what she ate could often flavor her blood, she was trying to avoid things that would make her blood taste bad or greasy. To that end, Eric took her to a small deli that specialized in whole and natural foods, and she got a grilled chicken wrap in a whole-wheat pita. A larger meal would come later after the photoshoot when he would take her to a restaurant for dinner.
"You know, I can cook," she said as she scarfed down her wrap.
Sex and blood loss worked up quite an appetite. Eric dug a little vitamin pack out of her purse – grinning when he found the spare pair of underwear she'd stowed in it – and handed it to her to take with her bottled iced tea. Trust someone to come up with supplement combos designed for "willing donors." There were four capsules in a cellophane packet, each geared towards boosting blood production and replenishing nutrients depleted by bloodletting. Eric kept a supply of them in his office, and he'd grabbed a handful the night before to toss in her purse.
"I know, and once we settle into our routine, we will know what to keep where, but for now it's no hardship for me to take you to eat."
She started to say something about her former vampire boyfriend, but squelched it. She had promised herself that she would stop comparing Eric to Bill.
"Thank you," her bonded commented, obviously picking up on her thoughts.
Their next stop was, of all places, a Wal-mart not too far away from Alfred Cumberland's photography studio.
"What are we getting here?" she asked as she hurried to keep up with him, burrowing down into her cranberry coat to block out the wind.
Her Viking was excited, practically humming with happiness, and he waved his hand at the electronic doors with a flourish.
"I love these things," he commented, grinning, as the doors slid open for him.
She huffed and skittered into the warmth ahead of him. "It'd be just like you to think that they opened just for you," she grumbled.
"The first time I ever saw one of these I was entranced," he said, still smiling.
He gave her a look and began walking away. "No, a set of sliding doors. I was absolutely charmed. I went in and out dozens of times."
"Because you're that easily amused."
"Ooh, you are in rare form tonight, my lover. Obviously, I haven't fucked you enough."
The elderly couple on their way out gasped, and she blushed beet red, but Eric just laughed and breezed through the store like he owned it. Hell, for all she knew, maybe he did own it. Whatever, the throngs of shoppers getting ready for the holidays practically tripped over themselves to get out of his way. He didn't even seem to notice.
They went directly to electronics, to the camera counter to be specific, and a pimply faced college kid turned three shades of white (almost whiter than Eric) when he saw the vampire at his counter.
"M-may I he-help you, S-Sir?"
Eric held himself tall and looked around as if he was bored. "I wish to purchase a camera."
"Digital or film, Sir?"
"Digital," he answered smoothly. "I want the very best. Professional quality."
The kid, his nametag read "Scott," gulped and showed Eric some of the more expensive camera models ziptied to the display shelves.
"Here are our high end digital cameras, S-Sir."
Eric surveyed them with all the interest of a Cajun cook looking at crawfish.
"Which is the best?"
Scott pointed to one model. "A lot of people like the Olympus. It's got 8 megapixels and it's easy to use. It's rated pretty high."
She gulped when she saw the price tag. It was almost $1000. Eric didn't even blink.
"I'll take it. Now, what do I need by way of accessories?"
"Umm, it takes CompactFlash II cards, but it doesn't come with one, so you'll need that, and you might want a zoom lens and a tripod…" the kid answered.
She zoned out when they started discussing camera bags because the price tag had zoomed up far beyond what she made in a month, and little dollar signs were dancing in and out of her vision as Eric kept piling additional items onto the counter. When all was said and done, he had spent close to $2000 on the camera and related equipment, and he left the counter a happy vamp.
She followed along in a daze as he headed for the exit.
'What is wrong, my lover?'
'Eric, you just spent more money in 20 minutes than I make in a month!'
He frowned and paused to look down at her, his brows furrowed. 'Does the shifter pay you so little?'
'Eric, most of my salary comes from tips.'
His frown grew deeper. 'The clientele in Bon Temps must be cheap. Our human waitresses clear $400 on an average night.'
Her eyes nearly bugged out of her head. "$400!" she blurted. That was more than she'd made in tips on New Year's Eve.
He shrugged. "On an average night. Weekends they can clear up to $600."
Obviously she was waitressing at the wrong bar.
'I've been trying to tell you that for two years.'
By now people were starting to notice the 6'4" Viking vampire standing in the middle of Wal-mart, and most were giving him a wide berth, but a few were openly staring. It made her very uncomfortable, but Eric just shook his head and started walking towards the exit again. He was thinking that it was no wonder that she was always short on funds if she made so little.
"Well, you know that you will be handsomely compensated for your work at Fangtasia. That should alleviate some of your financial burden," he said as they walked side-by-side down the white-tiled aisle.
Anyone who knew anything about vampire behavior would know that a human and a vamp walking alongside each other was unusual, and her position at his elbow marked her as someone of importance to him.
"Yes, and you know I will earn every penny you pay me."
He nodded. "Of course. I would expect no less from you, my lover. I have always admired your work ethic."
'And your play ethic,' he added with a gleam in his eyes.
She wanted to elbow him but decided against it.
They were passing by the ladies department, and of course they had the obligatory Santa themed lingerie hanging out on display. Eric saw it and grinned. He lifted a red teddy trimmed with white fluff and held it up for her perusal. She crossed her arms and gave him a bland look.
"It's you," she deadpanned.
He grinned and picked up a second teddy, holding one above the other because that was how many it took to cover his long torso, then he looked at her for her opinion. She had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing, especially when he waggled his eyebrows at her.
"Buy four, they're cheap," she said.
He looked more closely at the teddies and frowned in disapproval. "Cheap being the operative word. The quality of these things is crap," he commented, putting them back on the rack.
"Somehow I don't think the person who is supposed to wear that is too worried about how well it'll hold up."
He gave her a cocky smile and shrugged. "Good lingerie should be sexy, versatile, and durable."
"Since you know so much about it, why don't you open your own store? Pam could run it with you. She could be in charge of the leather section."
For the second time that evening, his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store, and she felt that sinking feeling again.
"My lover, once again you stun me with your business sense and ability to think outside the box. Will you be our model for the new merchandise?"
She didn't grace that with an answer, but she could hear his mental laughter through the bond, and it made her giggle herself.
"C'mon, we need to get to Al's," she sighed and headed for the exit.